Call it the blues

Sleep came slowly last night, and there wasn’t much of it. Something’s nagging at my nerves. It was with me all night, all day at work, and it’s still with me as I’m watching TV and reading the paper, eating some sandwiches, and lying awake in bed again tonight.

It’s a mystery dread, an unidentified unease. You know the feeling, right? The boss has an unhappy look on his face and wants you to step into his office, or your girlfriend says she wants to talk about the relationship. Here it comes. You don't know what it is but it's not going to be good and here it comes. Any moment now.

Tomorrow looks to be a day like any other, and the day after, so I don’t know what’s got me on edge. Nothing, probably. Or everything.

It’s an existential discomfort that’s with me always, but it gets in the way of enjoying The Simpsons so I’ve trained myself not to notice. I bury it all, under some jokes and trivial amusements. I eat a big meal that still leaves me empty, or go to the movies and try losing myself in the dark and the story.

Once in a while, though, the blues bubble up to the top and can't be shoved aside. Call it the blues.

It'll pass, sure. I'll think about other stuff and the mystery dread will recede again ... for a while.

Western civilization is a nut factory, ain’t it? Check your sanity at the door. We each have our routines and rituals, distractions and escapes, but when you step back and take an honest look at it all, just about nothing makes sense, seems healthy, or honestly adds to the well-being of ordinary people. It all seems intentionally meaningless, heartless, stupid and cruel, and it gets tiresome pretending it’s not tiresome.

If you’re holding yourself together, congratulations. If you’re squeezing some small happiness or meaning from life, and you haven’t recently contemplated jumping from a bridge, or robbing a bank, or drinking yourself numb, or giving your boss or your spouse or the world your middle finger, I am seriously impressed. You’re doing better than me, better than most of us.

From Pathetic Life #3
Monday, August 8, 1994

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.



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